September 5, 2012
Pentagon Changes Homeschool Enlistment
William A. Estrada, Esq.
HSLDA, Director of Federal Relations
Congress recently passed a new law requiring the United States military to accept homeschool
graduates on an equal basis with all other high school graduates. HSLDA worked hard to secure
passage of this legislation and monitor the Pentagon’s implementation of the new law.
On June 5, 2012, the Pentagon released its new policy regarding the enlistment of homeschool
graduates. While this policy is a huge improvement over the military’s previous enlistment guidelines,
Home School Legal Defense Association agrees with certain Congress members that the Pentagon
failed to follow their clear legislative intent.
Summary of the Pentagon’s New Homeschool Enlistment Policy
Since 2007 homeschool graduates had been recruited into the military as Tier I only because of an
internal Department of Defense policy. Potential recruits are categorized into Tier 1, 2, or 3, with Tier
1 representing those who are most likely to serve their full term.
Prior to the release of the Pentagon’s policy implementing the new law, the military guidelines
allowing homeschool graduates to enlist as Tier 1 was not universally applied. Recruiters would ask
for a wide variety of “proof” that a graduate had indeed homeschooled, most of the time going above and beyond what was required by state law. The new law was supposed to eliminate discrimination
and implement across-the-board rules for recruiting homeschool graduates. While the Pentagon’s
new policy is a clear step forward, there is still one major problem.
Changes for Homeschooled Enlistees Under the Pentagon’s New Policy
•Under the old policy, homeschool graduates were presumed to be in Tier II unless proven
otherwise. Under the new policy, homeschool graduates are presumed to be in Tier I, and they
remain in Tier I as long as they score at least a 50 on the AFQT (Armed Forces Qualification Test).
•Under the old policy, homeschool graduates had to prove that they were homeschooling in
compliance with their respective state laws. Under the new policy, homeschool graduates are not
required to provide proof of compliance with their state law.
•Under the old policy, recruiters often asked homeschool graduates to describe the curriculum, hours of instruction, textbooks, or even a typical day of homeschool instruction. Under the new policy
homeschool graduates are no longer required to provide detailed information of their homeschool
program for recruitment.
A Mixed Bag
While HSLDA believes that the new policy will eliminate many burdensome requirements for
homeschool enlistees, the policy still fails to follow Congress’ clear legislative intent for homeschool
enlistees who score less than 50 on the AFQT. Homeschoolers who score less than 50 are treated
differently than public school graduates who score less than 50.
Members of Congress sent a letter to the Pentagon urging the policy to be changed to comply with
legislators’ clear intent. HSLDA supports this letter and will continue to work with Congress and the
Pentagon to make sure that no homeschoolers face discrimination when they choose to serve their
nation by enlisting in the Armed Forces.
If your homeschool graduate faces discrimination by a military recruiter simply because he or she is
a homeschool graduate, please contact HSLDA at 540-338-5600. We will keep you updated as we
continue to work on this issue.